Vervain: a plant for the Spirit Warriors

The Spirit Warriors are fiery men and women that fought a thousand battles and were wounded a thousand times. Even though they operate on the plane of the physycal reality, their hearts and minds dwell in the Light, and from the Light they draw their Force and their Vision.

Sometimes, the connection with the Light becomes faint, and then the Spirit Warrior needs to find again his center and his Way. So he starts having fixed ideas and convinces himself that he is absolutely right, becoming, this way, unable to accept the defeat or his brothers’ and his systers’ Visions. Those are the people, according to Edward Bach, “that have immutable principles and ideas, that are convinced that they are right and that seldom change. They have a great desire to convert all the people around them to their own way of conceiving life.” [Bach]. They tend to make excessive efforts both physically and mentally. They can be easily  led astray by their own enthusiasm, and for this reason ending exhausted. In all things, they tend to be too serious and tense. They have often great ideals and ambitions for the good of humanity.

Vervain is the plant for the Spirit Warrior: it purifies his body and strengthens him, it calms his spirit and relaxes his tensions, stimulates his dreams and his ability of drawing from his own Vision, so that he can find again the right direction, his strength and his center.

Vervain has been regarded as a magical plant and a panacea by several peoples, among which Celts and Germans. Dioscorides ascribed to it miraculous properties. Romans and Greeks used it during the altar purification ceremonies , and Romans and Germans used it during peace negotiations (but also during war negotiations, for instance by the Roman Fetiales). It was considered a pure and purifying herb.

Vervain was regarded as a holy herb by Druids, that used to collect it from shaded places, in absence of both the Sun and the Moon, especially during the raising of the star Sirius. Druids decorated their altars with vervain flowers and used vervain infused water to purify their altars and sacred places.

The plant was used for protection, exorcisms, healing and to achieve peace. It is said to help seeing more clearly the fate of a person.

It’s one of the herbs consecrated to St. John and used around June, 24th in folk rituals.

Form a therapeutical point of view, it’s a remedy for several diseases, among which the “obstructions” of kidneys, spleen, liver and gallbladder, the jaundice and the hepatic congestion, and the stones. It’s a nervine suitable for nervous exhaustion, especially in people that are “strong above and weak below”, that is, with a strong willpower and an important mental activity but physically exhausted or weak. Their main deficiencies concerns the digestive and sexual systems, and their necks, shoulders and napes are usually chronically contracted. It’s indicated in case of intermittent fevers (e.g., malarian ones), especially in those cases when “it is difficult to get a sweat going” [Wood].

It’s traditionally regarded as a remedy for impotence.

According to Castore Durante, vervain “confers a good complexion, comforts the liver, the stomach, the spleen, the kidneys, the bladder & espels the stones, & the mucillages, & the other putrid humours, & viscous.

In the mediterranean herbal tradition, vervain “profits in many visceral affections; it opens the obstructions of the liver, of the spleen, of the kidneys and of the lungs; taken on fasting for forty days, it cures the jaundice; it cures asthma, tuberculosis, pulmonary ulcerations; it confers a good complexion; strengthens the liver, the stomach, the spleen, the kidneys, and the bladder; breaks and espels the urinary stones, the mucus and the putrid and viscous dampness that stagnates in the urinary tract. Externally, it acts on several skin affections, spots, vitiligo, abscesses, hematomas due to trauma, local edema, inflammations and irritations; it heals sores and ulcerations; applied on the temples, it mitigates frenzy” [Giannelli].

According to the Chinese Medicine, vervain (Ma Bian Cao) is a bitter and cold (or cool) herb that principally enters the Liver and Spleen meridians. 
Classified as a “Blood supplementing herb”, it has the following actions and indications:

  • supplements the Blood, reduces the abdominal masses, cools the Blood and unblocks the menses, so it is indicated in case of dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea due to Blood Stasis and in case of abdominal masses;
  • clears the Heat and resolves the toxicity, so it is indicated in case of severe sore throat and other accumulations of toxic Heat, including breast abscesses;
  • stimulates the diuresis and checks the malarial disorders, so its is indicated in case of Internal blockage of Dampness with edema or ascites and in case of  malarial diseases;
  • promotes the diuresis and reduces the edemas: edemas, ascites and fluids accumulation during the later stages of parasitic infections.

It has also specifically an anti-parasitic action and its is especially suited in case of Blood Stasis due to Heat in the Blood that dries and congeals the Blood. 

It can be applied topically for wounds involving metal, and for swollen sores.

It’s contraindicated during pregnancy and in case of Spleen Yin deficiency or Stomach Qi deficiency.

According to the Western Herbalism, vervain is a relaxing and diaphoretic nervine that stimulates the digestion, a galattagogue, a wound healer and an endocrine system tonic with a marked action upon the thyroid.

According to Kiva Rose, most people consider it a nerve relaxant with a gentle to moderate action, but some people react to it more strongly, inducing a slight alteration  of the state of consciousness, even when taken in minimal doses (2-3 drops). People for which vervain is mostly suited tend to accumulate a really strong tension, mainly on the shoulders and the neck, and are very “intense” and adrenal, and tend to be hypercritical toward themselves and the other people. [Rose]

Present-day Italian herbalism considers vervain mostly a stomach tonic and a skin purifier.

Vervain induces vivid and detailed dreams; someone also reports prophetic dreams.

It is usually collected during the flowering stage (from June to October).

[Bach] Edward Bach, “The Twelwe Healers
[Giannelli] Luigi Giannelli, “Medicina Tradizionale Mediterranea“, Ed. tecniche Nuove
[Wood] Matthew Wood, “The Earthwise Herbal – A Complete Herbal Guide to New World Medicinal Plants“, North Atlantic Books (2009)

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